COLLEGE OF JOURNALISM

WARREN G. BOVEE PAPERS, 1940-1998

Biographical Note:
Warren G. Bovee was affiliated with Marquette University for most of his life.  He studied journalism at Marquette from 1940-1943, at which time he joined the United States Air Force, piloting aircraft from Burma to China for two years.  He returned to Marquette after the war, finishing his B.A. cum laude in 1947.  He and his wife Gladys (Rose) Bovee moved to New York, where he pursued further graduate studies at Columbia University before returning to Marquette to complete his masters degree in 1949.

Bovee began teaching as a tenure-track faculty member in 1953, where he remained until his retirement, with the exception of a one-year leave of absence in 1957 to serve as an editorial assistant for The Reporter magazine in New York.  During his tenure at Marquette, Bovee twice served as acting dean of the College of Journalism (1971-1972; 1977-1978), as director of its graduate program (1972-1973), and as the journalism department chairman in the newly-formed College of Communication, Journalism, and Performing Arts (1988-1989).  He also headed a committee to improve diversity in the faculty.  His other administrative appointments and elected offices included service as president of the Marquette Chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) from 1962 to 1963 and as chair of the Committee on Faculty (1968-1969). He was rewarded in 1961 with the Andrew Hamilton Award for distinguished teaching in journalism.   

In addition to his duties as teacher and administrator, Bovee was an avid researcher and writer.  He won the Magazine Publishers Association research fellowship in 1963, allowing him to study in-depth the relationship between the editor and the writer in the magazine field.  In 1980, Bovee received the National Conference of Editorial Writers Research Grant.   He was also involved in numerous local and national journalism organizations such as the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Center, of which he was director (1981-1990) and the National Conference of Editorial Writers, of which he was the first professor to be elected to the board (1983-1985).

Bovee was a widely-respected authority on freedom of information and editorial writing. Other research interests included Catholicism and theories of social responsibility in the press.  Some of his notable scholarly publications include The Editor and Writer Relationship (1966); “The Mythology of Editorial Anonymity” (The Masthead, 1972-1973); and “Horace Greeley’s ‘Social Responsibility’ Theory” (Journalism Quarterly, 1986).  During his long career, Bovee also sold over 50 journalistic articles to such publications as The Reporter, Catholic Digest, Today, Catholic Messenger, Standard Star, Milwaukee Journal, and Milwaukee Sentinel

Bovee retired from Marquette in 1990 in order to devote more time to writing and traveling, and he was productive in his retirement.  His 1999 book Discovering Journalism (1999) was selected by The Text and Academic Authors Association as one of the best communications books of the year.  He also wrote numerous opinion letters and articles for submission in local periodicals.  For his consistent hard work, he was inducted into the Milwaukee Press Club’s Media Hall of Fame in 2002. 

Bovee passed away on July 2, 2003 at the age of 81, leaving behind his wife Gladys and children Priscilla, Christopher, David, John, and Paul. 

Scope and Content:   The Warren G. Bovee Papers, 1940-1998 (9.6 cubic feet) document the teaching, research, and professional involvement of Bovee throughout the course of his career.  The papers are arranged in six series, as follows:

Series 2.1 - Correspondence, 1953-1998 (.6 cubic feet) is arranged both by date and correspondent, as Bovee had maintained it originally.  The correspondence documents Bovee's relationships with friends, colleagues, and former students and addresses a wide range of topics, including the fields of journalism and magazine publishing, career advice, family matters, politics, and the like.  Because Bovee maintained his correspondence both separately in some instances (arranged both by correspondent and chronologically) as well as with other materials related by topic, researchers would be well-served to look within this series, as well  the others to locate all correspondence on a particular topic.

Series 2.2 - Subject Files, 1940-1986 (2.7 cubic feet) is arranged alphabetically and documents the wide range of topics in which Bovee maintained an interest.  The folders contain Bovee's notes on the topic; correspondence; publications, clippings, reviews, and other material related to the topic and were often collected from a variety of sources. It is unclear exactly how these materials were used by Bovee, but they appear to have served as background for both his teaching and writing.

Series 2.3 - Teaching and Administrative Responsibilities, 1946-1990 (3.9 cubic feet) is arranged alphabetically by topic.  The series documents Bovee's active involvement in the life of the College of Journalism and service on university committees.  Course files make up a significant portion of this series and include syllabi, lecture notes, examination questions, and other materials used in the teaching of his courses, documenting the evolution of the teaching of journalism over a nearly 50-year period. An avid notemaker and collector of material on journalism-related topics from a wide variety of sources, it was at times difficult to ascertain how the materials might have been used by Bovee. Items in this series had clear teaching roles; researchers may also wish to consult the Subject Files, many of which appear to have been closely related to the courses he taught.

Series 2.4 - Research Projects, Publications, and Presentations, 1946-1982 (.9 cubic feet) is arranged alphabetically and provides insight into Bovee's research and publication methods as well as public presentations on a variety of journalism topics.  Most notable are the correspondence and project files related to his publication of The By-Line Awards (1995), The Editor-Writer Relationship (1966), and a number of studies conducted for the Center for the Study of the American Press on press coverage of book reviews.

Series 2.5 - Professional Activities, 1950-1989 (.9 cubic feet) evidences Bovee's involvement in a variety of local and national professional organizations.  Fully one-third of the material in this series documents his involvement as a member of the WUWM Community Advisory Board; his board and committee service for the Catholic Press Association and National Conference of Editorial Writers are also well-documented.

Series 2.6 - Audio Recordings, 1964-1966 (.3 cubic feet) includes a limited number of reel-to-reel audio recordings featuring alumni and members of the campus community speaking about a variety of topics.

Series 2.1 Correspondence, 1953-1998
Series 2.2 Subject Files, 1940-1986
Series 2.3 Teaching and Administrative Responsibilities, 1946-1990
Series 2.3.1 Teaching and Administrative Responsibilities (Restricted: Inventory in Archives)
Series 2.4 Research Projects, Publications, and Presentations, 1946-1982
Series 2.5 Professional Activities, 1950-1989
Series 2.6 Audio Recordings, 1964-1966